#1 bestselling author Jeffery Deaver has created the most riveting and original novel of the year-a race-against-the-clock mystery, told in reverse.
THE OCTOBER LIST
Gabriela waits desperately for news of her abducted daughter.
At last, the door opens.
But it's not the negotiators. It's not the FBI.
It's the kidnapper.
And he has a gun.
How did it come to this?
Two days ago, Gabriela's life was normal. Then, out of the blue, she gets word that her six-year-old daughter has been taken. She's given an ultimatum: pay half a million dollars and find a mysterious document known as the "October List" within 30 hours, or she'll never see her child again.
A mind-bending novel with twists and turns that unfold from its dramatic climax back to its surprising beginning, THE OCTOBER LIST is Jeffery Deaver at his masterful, inventive best.
|Publisher:||Grand Central Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Date of Birth:May 6, 1950
Place of Birth:Chicago, Illinois
Education:B.A., University of Missouri; Juris Doctor, cum laude, Fordham University School of Law
Read an Excerpt
The October List
By Jeffery Deaver
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2013 Jeffery Deaver
All rights reserved.
6:30 P.M., SUNDAY
She stood at the window of the Manhattan apartment, peering through a slit in the drapes. Her hands trembled.
"Do you see anyone?" the man across the room asked, voice edgy.
"I'm not sure. Maybe." Her body pitched forward, tense, Gabriela tugged the thick sheets of cloth closer together, as if someone was scanning the windows with binoculars. Or a sniper rifle. "Of course, I didn't see anybody earlier today, either. Until it was too late." She muttered fiercely, "I wish I had a gun now. I'd use it. If anybody's there, I swear to God I'd use it."
Sam Easton asked, "But who would it be?"
She turned to him, stepping away from the window fast. "Who? It could be anyone. Everybody in the world, it seems, wants the goddamn October List!"
"How could they know you were here?"
Gabriela gave a bitter laugh. "I don't seem to have any secrets anymore." She hesitated, then, reluctantly, she looked out again. "I just can't tell. I thought somebody was there. But the next minute he was gone. I—" Then she whispered manically, "The dead bolt!"
Sam stared, cocking his head.
Eyes wide in alarm, Gabriela asked, "Did I lock it?" She walked quickly out of the living room around the corner to the hallway and then returned. "No, it's okay. Everything's locked up."
Sam now took her place at the window, looked out. "I see shadows, I see some movement. But I can't tell for sure. Could be somebody, could be a tree blowing in the breeze. Damn streetlight's out, the one in front of the building." He glanced at her. "Was it working earlier?"
"I don't know," she said. "I think maybe it was. How could somebody shut out a streetlight?"
Sam didn't answer. He too stepped back from the slit between the drapes. He crossed the room and sat on a hassock near her. She'd noted earlier that he was in good shape but hadn't seen clearly how slim his waist was, how broad his shoulders. His muscles tested his suit jacket and white shirt.
Gabriela raged, "Jesus, I hate this! ... Sarah, what's she going through? What's she thinking? What—?" Her voice choked. Then she breathed in and out slowly. "How soon, do you think, until we know?" Daniel and Andrew had left about a half hour ago to meet Joseph.
She wiped a dot of blood from her lower lip.
Sam said, "Hard to say. Joseph's got his own agenda, you know. The ... someone in his position pretty much has all the power."
Gabriela could tell he'd been about to say "the kidnapper" but didn't want to add that, maybe so that she didn't become more upset.
She exhaled slowly, pressed her rib cage. Gave a faint wince. "I hate the waiting."
Sam said awkwardly, "They'll make it happen."
"Will they?" she asked, in a whisper. "Joseph's a crazy man. A wild card. I have no idea what he's going to do."
A fog of silence filled the dim room, a silence engendered by two strangers who were waiting to hear a child's fate.
"When exactly did it happen?" Sam asked. His suit was unbuttoned, his tieless dress shirt starched smooth as Sheetrock.
"When did Joseph kidnap her?" Gabriela asked; she wasn't afraid to use the word. "Saturday morning. Yesterday."
Forever ago. That was the phrase that had occurred to her but she didn't use the expression with this man, whom she'd only known a few hours.
"And how old is Sarah?"
Gabriela responded, "Six. She's only six."
"Oh, Jesus." His long, matte-dry face revealed disgust, a face older than that of most men in their mid-thirties. A jowl quivered.
She nodded, a token of thanks for the sympathy. After a pause: "I hate Sundays."
"I know what you mean." Sam's eyes regarded her again: the new black jeans bought on the run while she and Daniel were being chased through the streets of New York. They fit poorly. A bulky, unbecoming navy-blue sweatshirt. He'd been noting her mussed auburn hair, and a gaunt face whose makeup had long ago been teared away. He scanned her lean hips too, her abundant breasts, but clearly had no romantic or lustful interest. She reflected, Whatever his circumstances or preferences, I'm sure I look pretty bad.
She rose and walked to the corner of the apartment. There sat a black backpack, from which the price tag still dangled. She unzipped it, then withdrew a smaller gym bag and, from that, a skein of yarn, some needles and the piece she'd been working on. The strands were deep green and blue ...
Echoing a line from a song.
One of her favorites.
Eyes red, demeanor anxious, Gabriela sat once again in the shabby plush purple chair in the center of the living room. Though she clutched the yarn, she didn't begin the rhythmic, comforting motion, so familiar, with the red knitting needles yet. She touched her mouth with a tissue. Looked at the wad, which was white as fine linen, now blotched red. Her fingers were tipped with polish of a similar shade.
Then, tap, tap, Gabriela knitted five rows. She coughed several times, pressed her side, below her right breast, her eyes squinting shut momentarily. She tasted blood. Copper, salty, bitter.
Concern rippling his brow, Sam asked, "If it's bleeding like that, shouldn't you go to the emergency room? It looks worse."
Gabriela gave a brief laugh. "That probably wouldn't be a good idea. Didn't Daniel tell you what happened this afternoon?"
"Oh. Sure. Wasn't thinking."
"I'll live with it until I get Sarah back. Then I'll have things taken care of. In the prison hospital, most likely." A cynical smirk accompanied this comment.
She studied the apartment once more. When she and Daniel had arrived two hours ago she'd been too preoccupied to notice much. In addition to being filled with beat-up furniture, and exuding a sense of the temporary, it was gloomy, particularly now in the oppressive dusk. She supposed this atmosphere was mostly due to the tall ceilings, small rooms, gray wallpaper flecked with tiny pale flowers. Her eyes went to the wrought-iron coffee table in the middle of the room. Its spiky edges looked like a weapon from a science fiction film.
The table set her nerves aflame. But she thought yet again, as she'd done so often in the past two days: Your goal. All you should think about is your goal.
Sarah. Saving Sarah is your only goal. Remember that, remember that, remember that.
Gabriela asked, "You work with Daniel much?"
Sam replied, "We've had a relationship with him and The Norwalk Fund for close to seven years."
"How many people've told him he looks like the actor?" She was thinking back to Friday night—could it really have been just two days ago?—meeting Daniel Reardon for the first time. Then later that evening: recalling his damp brow, speckled with moisture, and beneath, his blue eyes, which were simultaneously easy and intense.
"A lot," Sam said and again rubbed his bare, shiny scalp. "I don't get that much: Are you this or that actor?" He was laughing. He had a sense of humor after all, maybe.
"And the head of your company, Andrew—what was his last name again?"
"He's a fascinating man," she said. "I've never heard of a specialty like his before."
"Not many companies do what we do. He's made a name for himself. Travels all over the world. Flies a hundred thousand miles a year. Minimum."
She knit another row of blue and green. Tap, tap.
"And your job, Sam?"
"I'm a behind-the-scenes guy. The operations chief for the company."
"Like me," she said. "I run my company's office and ..." Her voice faded and she gave a sour laugh. "I ran the office. Before all this happened." She sighed, dabbed at her mouth once more, examined the tissue and continued knitting, as if she was simply tired of receiving bad news. She gave him a wry look. "Operations chief also has babysitter in the job description?"
He opened his mouth—a protest was coming—but then he said, with a grin, "Was it that obvious?"
She continued, "It doesn't make a lot of sense for you to be involved in this except for one reason: to make sure I stay out of their hair."
"Daniel and Andrew are negotiating your daughter's release from a kidnapper. What would you do if you'd gone with them?"
She shrugged. "Scratch Joseph's fucking eyes out."
"That's what Daniel figured. Better for you to stay here."
"And if I wanted to sneak off to the meeting, how were you going to stop me?"
"I'd probably beg."
"What do you know about Joseph?" Sam asked.
The smile vanished like water in parched dirt. "He's a monster, a sadist." She cast a glance at the CVS drugstore bag, inside which they could see a bloodstain, paled by the white plastic.
Sam noted it too. "Daniel told me about that. Unbelievable. Who'd do something like that?"
She closed her eyes momentarily, brow wrinkling. "Joseph's big and intimidating. A bully, a thug. But you know what's worse? He's got this weird side to him. Like his haircut. He has real thick, blond curly hair, and he greases it or something. It's eerie. He grins a lot. And he's got this, I don't know, this tone when he talks. You heard him on speakerphone. Taunting. Giddy."
"You know who he sounded like? That character from one of the Batman movies. Heath Ledger played him. Remember?"
"Yes, you're right. Exactly. The Joker."
Suddenly Gabriela's fists closed around the knitting, as if she was going to rip the piece apart. A moment passed and she seemed to deflate, head forward, shoulders sagging. "God, what a nightmare—this weekend." A pathetic smile bent her lips. "Two days ago I was a mother with a job I loved. I'd just met Daniel and, you know, things really clicked between us. And now? My daughter's been kidnapped. Daniel and your boss might be on their way to get shot. The police are after me and I've done some ... I've done some terrible things today. Oh, Christ ..."
She nodded toward the window. "And apparently Joseph isn't the only one to worry about. The goddamn October List? Why did it end up in my lap?"
"It'll work out," he said, though they both knew the reassurance was merely verbal filler.
After a moment she asked Sam, "Why would Daniel do all of this for me? Anybody else would've been long gone."
"Why? He's got an interest in what happens."
Sam smiled. "He likes you. That's what he told me ... And told me not to tell you."
She pictured Daniel's close-cropped black hair, his square jaw, his dancing blue eyes.
The actor ...
She felt the rippling sensation, low in her belly. Had a memory of his lips on hers, his body close. His smells, his tastes. The moisture on his brow and on hers. "I like him too."
"Here's the thing," Sam said, sitting forward on the leather hassock. "No surprise: Daniel's good looking and he's rich and he's a nice guy. A lot of women see that and they think, Jackpot. But they don't care who he is, not inside. They don't connect. Daniel said you and he hit it off before you knew he had the boat and the fancy cars and the money."
"Yeah, our meeting was not the most romantic experience in the history of relationships." She gave Sam a careful gaze. "Okay, he likes me. But he's also doing this because of what happened in New Hampshire. Right?"
"He told you?" Sam seemed surprised.
"He did, yes. Sounded pretty bad."
A nod. "Oh, yeah. Changed his whole outlook on life. And, true, probably that is one of the reasons he's helping you. Kind of giving back for what happened. That was tough. You know, with his kids involved and all."
"Daniel doesn't tell everybody about New Hampshire. In fact, hardly anyone."
She stared at her knitting, the tangles of color. "God, it's so risky, what he and Andrew're doing. They downplayed it, but ..." She pulled her phone from the sweatshirt pouch, glanced at the screen, slipped it back.
"Nothing." A sigh. She rose, walked to the bar and poured some red wine. Lifted her eyebrow. Sam nodded. She filled a glass for him and returned to the couch, handed it off. They sipped. No tap of glasses or toast, of course. Not now.
Gabriela sat and started to sip, but eased the wine away from her lips. She exhaled audibly.
"Are you all right?" Sam asked.
Frowning broadly, she was staring at a newspaper on the Alien coffee table. Scooting forward.
"My God," she said.
She looked up, eyes wide as coins. "I know what it is."
He regarded her quizzically.
"The October List, Sam." She slid the New York Times his way. He walked forward and picked it up. She continued, "I know what it means! The clues were there all along. I just didn't put them together." In a low voice, "It's bad, Sam. What's going to happen is really bad."
But before she could say anything more there came a noise from the front hallway: a click, followed by the distinctive musical notes of the front door hinge, O–oh, high–low. Stale air moved.
Gabriela rose fast. Sam Easton, holding his wine in one hand and the newspaper in the other, turned to the hallway.
"Is my daughter all right?" she cried. "Please tell me! Is my daughter all right?"
A man entered the room quickly. But it wasn't Daniel Reardon or Andrew Faraday, returning from their mission to save her daughter.
Joseph wore a black jacket and gloves and yellow-tinted aviator glasses. His glistening golden curly hair dangled to mid-ear.
In his gloved hand he held a pistol whose muzzle ended in a squat, brushed-metal silencer.
"No!" Gabriela gasped, looking toward Sam.
After scanning the room quickly, Joseph turned toward them, lifting the gun in a way that seemed almost playful.CHAPTER 2
5:50 P.M., SUNDAY 40 MINUTES EARLIER
The warehouse was just as he'd left it on Friday, when he'd been here making preparations.
Damp, brick walls covered with scabby light green paint, redolent of cleanser fumes and oil and pesticide and rust, lit by unkind fluorescents. One began flickering and Joseph rose from the table where he'd been sitting, took a mop from the corner, the strands molded into a mass, sideways, like windswept hair, and with the tip of the handle shattered the offending tubular bulb. There was nothing sturdy enough to stand on to remove it. Shards fell, dust too. The crackle was satisfying.
This building was similar to the one where he'd done his little surgery last night, the warehouse west of Times Square. Here, in SoHo, there was a demand for industrial spaces to turn into private residences—at astronomical sums, of course. This particular building would probably never be converted. There were no windows. Bad for resale to chic-minded lawyers and brokers. Good for Joseph's purposes, though. In fact, he could just make out a faint spatter of dark brown dots on the floor. Several months ago those discolorations had been bright red. The man had finally told Joseph what he wanted to know.
Solid brick walls. They absorbed the screams well.
Before returning to the chair, he walked to the heater panel, turned the unit up. Mold-scented air slipped out of the vents. Warmish. Still, he kept on his gloves—thin, flesh-colored cloth. Not for the comfort, though. Force of professional habit. Joseph recalled many times in the heat of summer when he'd worn gloves like these.
He sat once more, in the chair on whose back his leather jacket was draped. Pulling off his baseball cap and rubbing his thick golden ringlets, Joseph reached into the bag he'd brought with him and extracted the distinctive green box of Dom Pérignon champagne. He then removed from his pocket two mobile phones—his own iPhone, and the one lifted from the same apartment where he'd taken the boxed wine. His phone he set on the table. The other he scrolled through—clumsily because of the gloves—and noted the phone numbers and texts.
He set the Samsung down then stretched out his legs, checking the time. He wouldn't have long to wait. That was good. He was tense. You always were on edge at times like this. You had to be. He'd known plenty of men who'd relaxed when they shouldn't have. They were dead or changed for the worse, much worse.
But adrenaline got you only so far.
He glanced toward a door at the back of the warehouse, secured with a thick dead bolt. It led to a small storeroom. From beneath the door warm yellow light flowed. You could hear the Dora the Explorer DVD.
"Hey, Boots! Let's go over there!"
Joseph looked once more at the box containing the champagne. It was marred with a bloodstain on the side. Six dots in a row, like part of the Morse code for S- O-S. He knew the prestige of Dom Pérignon, though he'd never had any. This reminded him that he had a thirst. He rose and, walking stiffly from the chill, went to a cupboard in the corner of the warehouse, where he'd stashed a bottle of his Special Brew. He twisted off the cap and thirstily drank down nearly half of the contents. Felt the rush, felt the comfort.
Excerpted from The October List by Jeffery Deaver. Copyright © 2013 Jeffery Deaver. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jeffery Deaver is one of the best authors on the planet and I always buy his books. I am sorry I wasted money on this one. I do not believe that writing a novel backwards works. I cannot follow it.
Backwards unrolling of the story is a pain! Have been a fan for years.....from a maidens prayer... Sorry I spent the $$$$
I happen to love Jeffery Deaver's books. Couldn't wait to read this one because of it's difference. It was such a disappointment and actually would have been so much better had it been written in reverse. There wasn't even a completion to it. Would NOT recommend this book at all.
Of all the brilliant writings of Jeffery Deaver I can honestly say I was so disappointed in this book. It was very difficult to follow as he starts the ending at the beginning of the book. I am attending a Q and A session this coming Thursday with Mr. Deaver in Michigan. I wish he would stick with Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance novels.
This book is hard to follow and a lot of work to keep the storyline going. I love this authors books, but this one was not up to his usual great work. Sorry I spent the $$. Still not sure what happened to one character. My advice- read any of his other books- they were fast reads that you could not put down.
This book is just awful. The tale-told-backward format is not only confusing but actually disturbing and, dare I say it, boring. I didn't develop any interest in the characters at all. I wonder whether the story would be any good if the publisher re-worked it into a normal forwardly told format. Maybe not. Recommendation: don't bother.
Love this writer but hated this book. I read every night but this took me two weeks to get through I had to go back every night as had not a clue what was going on. Thought the book chapters were mixed up . Will never buy another book without finding out more about it Waste of time to read this book
Sub-titled “A Novel in Reverse,” this book is literally unlike anything I have ever read. The author is apparently enamored of what he calls a fractured time line. In his newest novel, following the conclusion (really the beginning, although it appears at the end of the novel), that is, after the final page (actually page 1), there is, naturally, a Foreword. The opening chapter, which, one soon discovers, is the dénouement, is Chapter 36, labeled “6:30 P.M., Sunday,” and is marked as page 297. The final chapter in the book, which naturally is Chapter 1, takes place on the Friday morning prior to that. Sound confusing? As for me, one could add the terms disorienting and, certainly, original. A more immediate appreciation of the novel would take minds perhaps more agile than that owned by this reader, but appreciation did certainly take place in the end. The crux of the novel is the eponymous document, something so valuable that Gabriela McKenzie, the protagonist, says of it “everybody in the world, it seems, wants the goddamn October List!” Indeed, such is its value that Gabriela’s six-year-old daughter is being held by a kidnapper until such time as Gabriela turns the List over to the kidnapper(s). The major problem being that she has to find it first. All the while being chased through the streets of New York, in eye-catching manner: a “homicidal auburn-haired woman and her actor look-alike companion.” She has of late been involved with one Frank Walsh, a knife fetishist in both the real and the virtual worlds. Anything more I leave to the reader to discover, in this mind-bending, and recommended, novel.
This was just not his usual book. It took me a week to finish instead of an evening; because I just could not get into it. But I still like the author and will continue to read his novels.
The October List is a stand-alone novel by popular American author, Jeffery Deaver. Early on a September Sunday evening, Gabriela McKenzie waits nervously in a “safe” apartment with minder, Sam Easton, for news of the negotiation with her daughter’s kidnapper. She is hoping her new (and apparently wealthy) friend, Daniel Reardon and his expert team can save Sarah. Her kidnapper is demanding a large sum of money, and something called The October List. But when the door opens, a shock awaits: the kidnapper, gun in hand, enters. In this unusually constructed thriller, Deaver begins with the final chapter and works back through the events of the previous days. The first (ie last) chapters are quite confusing, but if the reader persists, the reward is a cleverly put-together story that is filled with twists, turns and red herrings. As the story progresses (?) in reverse, the reader learns that none of the characters is quite who or what they seem. Some arouse suspicion from the start, but others are a complete surprise. Original and very imaginative. 4.5 stars
It was an interesting way to write a book, but I didn't find the plot to be very good really.
A total waste of money. I did not like the format in which "The October List" was written. Starting the book from the end and working the story backward gave everything away. It did not take long before I had the whole plot line figured out. No surprise moments, no unexpected twists or turns in the plot.
this book is very boring. im little more than half way thru and I just don't think I can muster the effort to finish it. its story is written backwards which guess was supposed to make it more interesting, but it doesn't. I love the Lincoln/sachs stories but this isn't one of them.
Jeffery Deavers proves once again why he's the master of suspence. I thought it a little strange reading backwards. Best book ever.
Very cleverly written....working backward toward the beginning, but was difficult to grasp until well into the story! an otherwise good plot.
Jeffery Deaver proves again that he is a great writer.
This format was a bit too strange for me. I was about 80% through the book before I decided that the format was "interesting" enough to keep going. In the end I liked it, but would not knowingly do it again. After finishing the book, I went back to re-read the "first" chapter.
Did not like the style of the writing. Deaver is an excellent writer/ storyteller so I see how this writing was a challenge for him. When I read a book, I want to be taken to a different world, but one I won't have trouble following the story. I'm glad that I've read all his other books (excellent) and know how great a writer he is, otherwise I probably would not read them based on October List.
I have read all of jeffery deaver's books. This one"ain't up to par!!!". Very disappointed! Sorry i wasted my $$ on it. Hope there are nomore like it in the future.
I have been reading this author for years and have never read a bad book of his. This book is backwards from the start and very hard to read. If it was an automobile I would ask for the warranty to replace it. My mind won't work in reverse, sorry.
I had a hard time with the "backward" concept and keeping things straight,but it was an interesting twist,but not sure I would like to read many books like that..NOT one of his best.
As mentioned before this book was not very good. I could not make myself care for the characters who spoke like they were confined to as few words as possible. It is hard to read a book when you do not like the characters. As far as the "backward" issue, I might have enjoyed being surprised if I had invested all of my interest. I just could not enjoy this book
Deaver never disappoints. He really pulled off another surprise here!!
Could not finish the book ... difficult reading the story backward.
I liked the story behind the book, but you literally read the book backwards and it makes it a little confusing. Also the end of the book basically leaves you hanging, it doesn't really have a great ending at all.